I was born and raised in small-town Michigan, the middle child of five. I developed a love of languages in high school and went to Michigan State University to become a French teacher. Realizing that teaching high school was not my calling, I graduated from Michigan State with a degree in French and Russian in 1977. In 1979 I married Betty Manning, and we have three adult children: Michael, Paul, and Rachel.

I spent over 33 years working in the U.S. government as a language analyst in a number of languages and was blessed to be able to visit many areas of the world before retiring in 2010. The exposure to other people and cultures made a huge impact on my worldview and my faith in Jesus.

I am now a certified staff minister called to serve Our Savior Lutheran since 2011. Within my call, I focus mostly on member care and discipleship: teaching Bible classes, taking the Word of God to the ailing and the homebound, working with small groups, and overseeing the Sunday School—plus wherever else I may be needed. In my spare time I read, dabble in language, and keep up with my MSU Spartans.